Store your research data

Is your research data at risk?

  • Is it safe, secure and backed-up?
  • Will you be able to access it in 1 year, 2 years, 5 years?
  • Will you remember the who, what, when, where, why and how of the data?
  • Is is available for archiving, discovery, and possible publication or reuse?

Through the course of your research you must ensure that all research data, regardless of format, are stored securely and backed up or copied regularly. It is strongly recommended to keep at least 3 copies of your data, for example, original, external/local, and external/remote, and have a plan for maintaining regular backups.

Defining 'research data' is challenging.  The definition will vary depending on context.

At Deakin University, research data are broadly defined as all data created by researchers in the course of their work.

Other definitions, such as the more precise definition – data that is collected, observed, or created, for purposes of analysis to produce original research results – are appropriate in some instances, and are generally clear from the context in which they are used.

Within the context of digital data storage, we are using a broad definition of research data encompassing any digital data or information that is generated or collected in the process of preparing for, or undertaking research.

For deeper consideration of the definition of research data you can refer to the many online resources such as http://www.bu.edu/datamanagement/background/whatisdata/ and http://library.leeds.ac.uk/info/441/managing_data/203/what_is_data/

Deakin recommends that you store your digital research data on Deakin managed data repositories. All data stored on Deakin managed systems is secure and backed up.

Wherever possible, original non-digital data should be stored in the school or institute where the research was conducted. If appropriate facilities for storage are not available the Head of School or Director of Institute should ensure that appropriate facilities are provided. (Research Conduct Policy, 27.)

When deciding where to store your data, consider:

  • Who needs to access the data?
  • How secure do you need your data to be?
  • Who is responsible for backing up the data?

For Deakin managed repositories

Storage option Ideal for... Advantages Limitations
Deakin desktop computers and laptops – local drives (C: and D:) Data that you can afford to lose. Deakin ID and password protected

Not backed-up

Only available from one computer

Local drives may fail or PCs and laptops may be lost or stolen leading to an inevitable loss of your data.

Personal network drive
(H: drive,  home drive on file share)

Network drive help

Data that only you need to access and that will be transferred to another location for long term storage.

Free

Deakin ID and password protected

Backed up automatically

Only authorised members have access

Can be accessed from any Deakin computer

Accessible – inside and outside Deakin (via VPN)
Will be deleted when member leaves Deakin

Only accessible by one person

Faculty, Institute or School shared networked drives
(U: drive, work area file shares)

Network drive help

All research related data including; plans, forms, submissions, raw data, processed data, drafts, papers, references etc

Storing or sharing files on-campus

Large files and data sets

Collaborating with people with a Deakin login account

Free

Deakin ID and password protected

Backed up automatically

Only authorised members have access

Data will continue to be stored when member leaves Deakin

Accessible by more than one Deakin person.

Available inside and outside Deakin (via VPN)

Only available to those with a Deakin login.

Not available unless logged into the Deakin network

To manage access you will need to your data steward.

Personal Repositories

Storage Option Ideal for .... Advantages Limitations
External storage devices – USB, hard drives Short term, secondary storage of non-sensitive data. Easy, portable, cheap

Insecure, unless kept in secure location and sensitive data are encrypted

Not automatically backed up

Easily damaged, misplaced or lost

Not suitable for long-term storage
External storage devices – CDs and DVDs Read only, secondary storage of non-sensitive data Easy, portable, cheap,
good for backing up data

Insecure, unless kept in secure location and sensitive data are encrypted

Not backed up

Not suitable for long-term storage
Personal computers and laptops – local drives

Storing your data temporarily but should not be used for storing master copies of your data.

Data storage if you are in a location that has no access to the internet.

Convenient

Insecure, unless password protected and sensitive data are encrypted

Not automatically backed up

Not suitable for long-term storage

Local drives may fail or PCs and laptops may be lost or stolen leading to an inevitable loss of your data.

Third party repositories

Storage option Ideal for.... Advantages Limitations

Cloud storage services

Dropbox, Google Docs, SkyDrive

Sharing read/write files with external parties for collaboration

Non-personal and non-confidential data

Accessing files from tablets and phones
Can share files with anyone
 
Can access files from many platforms

Consideration of Intellectual Property, confidentiality and ownership of data is required

Insecure

Not backed-up
CloudStorPlus Storing research data where collaborators external to Deakin require regular access. 100GB of storage is available to individual researchers free of charge Consideration of Intellectual Property, confidentiality and ownership of data is required
National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR)

Instant access to scalable computational power, research applications and (short term) storage of data.

Collaborate with people external to Deakin

Provides many options for storing your data.

This service is a self-help environment more suited to users with a level of technical expertise.

Data storage is short term (3 months).

Other third party repositories are available for storing your research data. If electing to use one of these services ensure that you consider the security, backup and intended use of your data.
For long term data storage options more information is available on the preserve page.

If you are using Deakin managed storage repositories such as your home directory (H:) or your Faculty, Institute or School share drive (U:) your data will be automatically backed up.

Home drives and network shares have previous versions functionality. This takes snapshots of your data at 10 am, 1 pm and 4 pm (kept for 24 hours) and 8 pm (kept for 7 days).
Therefore you are able to restore files and folders immediately yourself.

If using other storage options you are responsible for your backups. Consider how often you want to back up your data, this will depend on how much data you are producing and how much you are willing to lose. It may be appropriate to backup every day, it may be appropriate to backup several times a day. It is advisable to backup using a separate medium, this separate medium should then be stored in an alternate location to to your original copy. Ensure your backup is secure.

Storing data on Deakin's centrally managed systems will ensure that:

  • your research data is appropriately accessible, secure, stable, backed-up, retained and archived
  • žyou have full control over who has access
  • žif you require greater amounts of storage you can request this
  • žyou are able to comply with obligations included in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
  • data storage requirements for funding bodies can be met
  • you can share data with other Deakin researchers
  • your reduce the risk of loss, theft, damage, corruption, breaches of confidentiality and privacy and Intellectual Property violations.
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